What a Character: Richard Erdman in CRY DANGER

Richard Erdman was born June 1, 1925, in Enid, Oklahoma, and was raised in Colorado Springs. After his high school drama teacher told him that he might have what it takes for movies, he and his mom moved to California, where he enrolled in Hollywood High. While still a teenager, he was offered and accepted a seven-year contract with Warner Brothers.

Erdman racked up 177 credits in his 73-year career, working as an actor for the better part of eight decades, and averaging at least a few roles per year, including a six-year stint on the TV series “Community” (2009-2015). As Slate pointed out when he passed away in March 2019, there were just seven (7) years between 1944 and 2017 that Erdman didn’t have at least one credit. He was a frequent guest at conventions and film festivals well into the 2010s and his “Community” character, Leonard, had his own YouTube channel. The LA Times characterized Erdman as “the consummate ‘that guy’ — a difficult-to-identify-but-recognizable supporting player,” but they forgot about his distinctive, croaky voice, one that I would know anywhere.

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That’s News To Me: Big Brown Eyes (1936)

I was recently surprised to find, while perusing Criterion Collection’s Joan Bennett slate, there were actually TWO films I had not seen. And one had Cary Grant in it! I immediately settled in to watch Big Brown Eyes (1936).

Bennett plays Eve Fallon, a sassy manicurist in a hotel salon, whose boyfriend, Danny Barr (Grant), is a police detective. Eve hears a lot of conversation, which comes in handy when she quits her job and becomes a crusading reporter. Barr and one of Eve’s clients, private detective Richard Morey (Walter Pidgeon), are trying to find jewelry stolen from the wealthy Mrs. Cole (Marjorie Gateson, above left). When a baby is killed in the crossfire of a related dispute in Central Park, and those responsible go free, Eve and Danny go rogue to catch the killers.

More after the jump

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11th Annual What A Character: Evening Edition

Hey night owls and West Coasters, Paula here to close out our 11th Annual What a Character! Blogathon! It always brings me so much joy to see so much love for the backbone of cinema, the supporting players. This year brought new points of view and new faces to these posts, which is always good to see.

Jacqueline at Another Old Movie Blog starts us off by paying tribute to underrated day player Mary Field‘s “ability to command a scene and entirely lose herself in a character.”

Karen at Shadows and Satin honors Jay C. Flippen, “the burly character actor…a man of fortitude and determination – a veteran of vaudeville, radio, theater, screen, and television.”

Kayla at Whimsically Classic details how “I Love Lucy” introduced her to “instantly recognizable” Allen Jenkins (on the right, with Errol Flynn.)

Taking Up Room recaps the life and career of Dorothy Morris, who “always made a big impression in her own quiet, pretty way.”

Wollfian Classic Movies Digest analyzes several of Peter Lorre‘s greatest performances: Casablanca, Mad Love, M, and The Maltese Falcon.

The Everyday Cinephile illustrates how Ernest Torrence “perfectly exemplifies the unique skill set required to succeed as a character actor.”

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s WAC! Blogathon, and to our beloved Turner Classic Movies for inspiring it in the first place. It’s been a fun and fascinating 11 years.

See the What A Character! morning posts at Once Upon A Screen here. Afternoon posts are at Outspoken and Freckled here.

Key to the What A Character! 2023 graphic

Announcing the 11th Annual What A Character! Blogathon – Call for posts

It began eleven years ago with a spark of inspiration. What is the one thing that practically every film fan can agree on…the one thing that every cinephile looks forward to? What is the celluloid glue that holds us all together so dearly? Our love of character actors.

Click to enlarge

From the earliest years of Turner Classic Movies (TCM), the network has broadcast “What A Character!” interstitial short tributes honoring various character actors. Many of the most popular supporting players have been highlighted over the years, including Marjorie MainEdna May OliverBeulah BondiWilliam Demarest, and Butterfly McQueen. These consummate pros were the inspiration for the WHAT A CHARACTER! Blogathon. Kellee, Aurora, and I decided to dedicate a blogathon to those invaluable talents who often stole the scene. Now, for the eleventh consecutive year, we continue the tradition. Details after the jump

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Turner Classic Movies Summer Under The Stars 2022 — Week 05 Picks

Well, we’re in the final week of TCM’s Summer Under The Stars (SUTS), the channel’s annual tribute to one star per day for the month of August. I’ve still got a little room on the DVR. Check out these last few days of picks! As always, all times are Eastern. Week 01 picks are here. Week 02 picks are here. Week 03 picks are here. Week 04 picks are here.

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Turner Classic Movies Summer Under The Stars 2022 — Week 04 Picks

We’re now coming into the stretch of TCM’s Summer Under The Stars (SUTS), the channel’s annual tribute to one star per day for the month of August. I’ve watched a lot of new-to-me films, some great, some not-so-great. Emphasis for these picks is on films I haven’t seen yet and those increasingly rare rarities. Fun fact: I got hooked on TCM for good on Jean Gabin Day during the 2011 SUTS, so in a roundabout way, SUTS led to TCM Party. Picks for each day after the jump. As always, all times are Eastern.

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Turner Classic Movies Summer Under The Stars 2022 — Week 03 Picks

Here is a list of what I’ll be watching and/or DVRing during Week 03 of TCM’s Summer Under The Stars (SUTS), the channel’s annual tribute to one star per day for the month of August. Emphasis is on films I haven’t seen yet and those increasingly rare rarities. Fun fact: I got hooked on TCM for good on Jean Gabin Day during the 2011 SUTS, so in a roundabout way, SUTS led to TCM Party. Picks for each day after the jump. As always, all times are Eastern.

This week is gonna kinda sorta be super random because I’m running late (it’s Tuesday as I write this) and I’m not crazy for anyone this week other than Joan Crawford and Toshiro Mifune, and many of these films play on TCM quite often. So I’ll really be looking for the odd and the rare.

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Turner Classic Movies Summer Under The Stars 2022 — Week 02 Picks

Here is a list of what I’ll be watching and/or DVRing during Week 02 of TCM’s Summer Under The Stars (SUTS), the channel’s annual tribute to one star per day for the month of August. Emphasis is on films I haven’t seen yet and those increasingly rare rarities. Fun fact: I got hooked on TCM for good on Jean Gabin Day during the 2011 SUTS, so in a roundabout way, SUTS led to TCM Party. Picks for each day after the jump. As always, all times are Eastern.

Continue reading “Turner Classic Movies Summer Under The Stars 2022 — Week 02 Picks”

Turner Classic Movies Summer Under The Stars 2022 — Week 01 Picks

Here is a list of what I’ll be watching and/or DVRing during TCM’s Summer Under The Stars (SUTS), the channel’s annual tribute to one star per day for the month of August. Emphasis is on films I haven’t seen yet and those increasingly rare rarities. Fun fact: I got hooked on TCM for good on Jean Gabin Day during the 2011 SUTS, so in a roundabout way, SUTS led to TCM Party. Picks for each day after the jump. As always, all times are Eastern.

Continue reading “Turner Classic Movies Summer Under The Stars 2022 — Week 01 Picks”

10th Annual What A Character: Evening Edition

Hey night owls and West Coasters, Paula here to close out our 10th Annual What a Character! Blogathon! It always brings me so much joy to see so much love for the backbone of studio-era Hollywood, the supporting players.

As you may have seen in the announcement post, this tenth year comes with giveaways from Turner Classic Movies (TCM) and The University Press of Kentucky, both of which are providing film-related books to ten lucky participants. We will randomly pick the winners toward the end of the weekend. Winners will be notified on social media or by email.

And now, without further ado, this evening’s fabulous entries:

Jacqueline at Another Old Movie Blog writes that Lillian Randolph “is instantly relatable and somehow more genuine than the stars she supports.”

Toni at Watching Forever profiles a familiar face from the TV series “Gunsmoke” in “Beyond Festus: The Career of Dan Curtis.”

The Classic Movie Muse takes a deep dive into the life and work of Lucille La Verne, whose “bone-chilling” voice made her the first to have a speaking part in an animated feature-length film.

Lesley at Second Sight Cinema investigates the possibly unknowable nature of one of my favorite actors in “Jack Carson, International Man of Mystery.”

Chris at Blog of the Darned profiles the criminally underused Theresa Harris.

Lady Eve’s Reel Life looks into the villainous (and heroic) roles of another of my favorite actors, Conrad Veidt.

Kayla from Whimsically Classic details her favorite roles played by character actor Elisha Cook Jr.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s special 10th Anniversary ‘thon.